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Was the BIG BANG God's method?

What the Bible says about the Big Bang
'IN THE BEGINNING God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
– Genesis 1:1-2
RESTATED IN TODAY'S LANGUAGE: God created the universe instantly with a release of divine energy beyond human comprehension, the Big Bang. The heat was so intense that everything was vaporized and light could not penetrate it. Vapors eventually cooled to form the earth's core with a crust and a deep watery surface. God was getting ready to do something special here!

This is all the information the Bible provides about the creation of the universe. To say more would have created comprehension and credibility issues for people in earlier times who didn't have the historical and scientific understanding we have today.

These first two verses of the Bible are just the introductory summary of God's creation. See how God brings life to earth in six stages called 'days' – essentially the same sequence as modern science now explains it – written in the Bible more than three thousand years ago!


'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ...'

The first verse in the Bible (yellow above) gives a summary statement about the universe: God created it! It didn't start by itself from nothing. It's the result of divine intelligence and power.

This opening statement in scripture is foundational for all Jewish, Christian, and Muslim belief.

'... the earth was formless and empty ...'

The second verse in the Bible (yellow above) zooms to planet earth and says that it was formless and empty.

Surveys show that most Christians believe that God created the earth essentially in its present form. But that's NOT what the Bible says.

The Bible says that, in the beginning, the earth didn't have any form. Nothing was on it or in it. It was formless and empty, now confirmed by modern science.

The instant creation of the universe – the Big Bang –was an incomprehensible release of divine energy which sent neutrons, electrons, and protons – the raw materials for everything we see today – flying out in every direction. The explosion was so powerful that we can track the direction and speed of stars and galaxies still moving away from us and from each other.

With supercomputers, astrophysicists have calculated that an explosion of that magnitude would have created a temperature of about 1,8 billion degrees Fahrenheit, which cooled to about 16,000 degrees after 56,000 years.

And what happens at that temperature? Everything is vaporized – 'formless and empty' – just as the Bible says.

'... darkness was over the face of the deep ...'

The second verse in the Bible (yellow above) says further that there was darkness over the earth's surface.

It seems like a contradiction to say that there was a gigantic explosion – which to us also means intense light – and at the same time to say that everything was dark.

But now we know from modern science that light cannot penetrate intense heat.

The free electrons would have caused light (photons) to scatter the way sunlight scatters from the water droplets in clouds. Over time, the free electrons met up with nuclei and created neutral atoms. This allowed light to begin glowing through about 380,000 years after the Big Bang.

This corresponds with Day 1 of the Bible creation story when God created light ... and Day 3, when light began to penetrate the dense cloud cover enough to support simple vegetation fed by water and photosynthesis ... and Day 4, when the earth had cooled to the extent that breaks in the cloud cover revealed the sun, moon, and stars.

The 'face of the deep' is just a way of saying that a shape (face, what we can see) was beginning to form from this very large (deep, more 8,000 miles) swirl of gasses.

'... and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.'

The second verse in the Bible (yellow above) also says that, after the vapors cooled into solids, the earth had form and content.

Modern science fills in some details. As the vapors cooled, the earth became a ball of molten rock, and a crust eventually formed (today 5-25 miles thick).

The crust cooled and strengthened enough so that water vapor, condensing as rain, no longer rose up again as steam, but stayed on the earth's surface.

Later, in Day 2, the Bible says that God created an 'expanse' (atmosphere of air capable of supporting life) between the waters above (clouds) and the waters below (oceans, rivers, and lakes). This is the narrow space in the universe in which we can live without supplemental oxygen, approximately 15,000 feet of breathable air around the earth.

The 'spirit of God was hovering over the waters' is a way of saying that God was giving special attention to planet earth – then appearing only as 'waters' – because God planned to do something very unique and special here, to create land and life.

From Genesis 1:2 we know from the Bible that the earth was NOT created instantly in its present form. Enormous changes have occurred over time in the earth's structure and content.

God 'stretches out the heavens'

'He alone stretches out the heavens' (Job 9:8) ... 'he stretches out the heavens like a tent' (Psalm 104:2) ... 'he stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.' (Isaiah 40:22).

'... the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out' (Isaiah 42:5) ... 'Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens' (Isaiah 44:24) ... 'My own hands stretched out the heavens' (Isaiah 45:12) ... 'my right hand spread out the heavens' (Isaiah 48:13) ... 'the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens' (Isaiah 51:13).

'... stretched out the heavens by his understanding' (Jeremiah 10:12) ... 'stretched out the heavens by his understanding' (Jeremiah 51:15) ... 'The Lord, who stretches out the heavens by his understanding' (Zechariah 12:1).

Notice that these verses say that God 'stretches' out the heavens. The word is present tense continuous. God is still stretching – via the Big Bang – just as science has discovered.

The Big Bang theory – 'theory' means 'explanation' – is the result of new information from modern telescopes, scientific measuring instruments, and supercomputers.

Astronomers learned that the cosmos is not static as previously thought. Everything is in constant motion outwards.

They learned that every object in space is not only moving away from the earth but also moving away from every other object, as illustrated in this diagram. Even entire galaxies are moving away from each other.

With the ability to track the direction and speed of objects in space, astronomers then reasoned that they could plot an object's track and estimate where it had been on that track at various times in the past.

They discovered that, by tracing backward, every track originated at the same point in space – the Big Bang (center of the diagram) – about 13.8 billion years ago by measuring the speed and distance traveled on each track. It's impossible to tell where that point was because space itself is expanding!

The concept of an expanding universe is not contrary to the Bible. It's exactly what the Bible teaches.


Thinkers Bible Studies / Topic 1.1


Was the BIG BANG God's method?

for an informed answer

Why the Big Bang matters

For the past 30 years, students in virtually all public schools and universities everywhere have been taught the Big Bang theory. But most Christians believe this is heresy to Christian tradition and that a stark choice must be made either for science or for the Bible. Most young people today are choosing science and rejecting the Bible. This tragic loss of Bible credibility is caused by misunderstandings which need to be corrected.

What the Bible says about the Big Bang

Contrary to what most Christians believe, the Bible says that the earth was NOT created instantly in its present form. See the verses in Genesis 1 which show how God used the Big Bang as a method to form the earth over time, as modern science is now discovering.

Science catches up with the Bible

One hundred years ago, most scientist believed that the universe always existed. They scoffed at the Bible for saying that the universe had an instant beginning. See the dramatic story of how all that has changed. Now science – with the Big Bang theory – agrees with the Bible.

Science is not the enemy

There can be no difference between true science and true Christianity because both seek truth. There is only one truth. Science inquires into the physical and Christianity inquires into the spiritual. See how both have been wrong at various times in the past. Eventually conflicts are resolved with new information. Science is agnostic, but not the enemy. Science makes the case for a single almighty God.

Tradition vs. Bible

Most Christians believe that God created the universe in six 24-hour days, but that’s not what the Bible says. By stretching the Bible, blindly defending tradition, and fighting scientific discoveries, Christians are inadvertently helping science to become the new god in America.

Proof of God

Some people, whether sincere or just for argument, say it’s impossible to prove that God even exists. Actually, it's possible to prove the existence of God by following five universally acknowledged rules of logic. Also see response to the question: Then who made God?

Here's where we combine the six Insights to get an informed biblical answer: Was the BIG BANG God's method?

The Insights here are like pieces of a puzzle. Put the pieces together and see the big picture! Now you'll be prepared to engage intelligently and coherently with anyone about what the Bible says about the Big Bang. See list of five reasons why the Big Bang is compatible with the Bible. Also see reader comments.
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Helping Christians engage in intelligent and coherent conversations with doubters and unbelievers